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Staff Council Creates Christmas for 210 Children
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
“The generosity of people on campus who participate in the Needy Children’s Gift Program is heartwarming,” said Dana Francis, chair of the Staff Council’s service projects committee. “There is no better way to show my appreciation for all I’ve been blessed with than by giving to local families and children who might not have gifts to open or food to eat on Christmas. Although I am unable to see the families open their gifts, I can only imagine their excitement, and that makes my heart feel good!”
In the fall, departments and offices are assigned a family, and then individuals in the offices buy gifts for each child, beginning with necessities such as clothing and warm coats. The value of gifts for each child ranges from $100 to $150. This year, a generous donor made it possible for every young child in the program to receive a stuffed animal.
In addition to their other gifts, each family also receives a food certificate for a minimum of $45. Staff Council holds an event each fall to raise funds for the certificates, which are supplemented by cash gifts from the departments.
Social workers from various agencies will pick up the gifts today at the University Farm for the families they recommended. Even though the volunteers from Staff Council don’t meet the families, the excitement and gratitude of the social workers conveys a strong message about how these gifts will be appreciated.
The program started in 1985 with only 17 families and has grown through the years. It, along with campus blood drives, is one of the largest projects Staff Council sponsors. “The primary focus of Staff Council projects is that they benefit staff, then the University community, and then the larger community,” said Terry Battle, chair of Staff Council. “It is wonderful that so many people in the University have helped it grow and that so many families can benefit.”
Staff Council begins working on plans for the program in October, contacting agencies and social workers, who select the families and help them fill out wish lists, which are then handed out to participating divisions in the University. Social workers choose families on the basis of need. Families are recipients in the program only once.